Wacker Earnings Exceed Estimates on Photovoltaic Market

Wacker Chemie AG, the fourth-biggest maker of polysilicon, posted quarterly profit that beat analyst estimates and said that there are “encouraging signals” from the photovoltaic market.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization in the fourth quarter rose 17 percent from a year earlier to 130 million euros ($176 million), the Munich-based company said today in a statement. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated Ebitda of 109.5 million euros.

The manufacturer, whose shares fell in November to the lowest price since its 2006 IPO, has struggled with increased competition from Chinese makers of solar products. While price pressure and high inventory levels hurt the polysilicon business in 2012, the worst may be over, the company said today.

“Recent weeks have provided encouraging signals indicating additional photovoltaic expansion, especially in China and the U.S.,” Chief Executive Officer Rudolf Staudigl said in the statement. “That could result not only in improved volumes, but also in better prices for solar silicon in the future.”

Quarterly sales rose 1 percent to 1.02 billion euros, beating a 987.3 million-euro estimate.

Shortened Hours

Wacker Chemie, which generates one-quarter of sales from polysilicon, introduced shorter working hours in October for 650 of the 1,000 employees at its Burghausen, Germany, site and delayed production by 18 months at a new polysilicon factory in Tennessee to counter overcapacity.

Wacker stock has gained 13 percent this year in Frankfurt trading, for a market value of 2.9 billion euros. The manufacturer is majority-owned by the founding family’s holding company, Dr. Alexander Wacker Familiengesellschaft mbH.

The company named Tobias Ohler to the executive board as of Jan. 1, replacing Wilhelm Sittenthaler, who left for personal reasons. Ohler joined Wacker in 2005 and until his new appointment was personnel director and a board member of the company’s Siltronic unit.

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